South Bend, Indiana – AM General LLC, makers of the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV or Humvee) military vehicle, will build the next generation R-Class luxury crossover for Mercedes-Benz from its plant in Mishawaka, Indiana.
Because of increasing demand for its sport utility vehicles and the addition of new models at Mercedes’ plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, that automaker had ended R-Class production in 2012. In the United States last year, the company sold only eight of the remaining wagon-like crossovers, down from only 30 in in 2013.
Under the multi-year agreement, AM General becomes Mercedes-Benz's first and only contract manufacturing operator in the U.S. AM General anticipates R-Class vehicles will start rolling off its production lines this summer and will hire and train hundreds of new workers in order to prepare for R-class production.
"AM General is pleased to have been selected by Mercedes-Benz to build this vehicle at our world-class commercial vehicle facility in Mishawaka. We look forward to a long term relationship with Mercedes and expanding our services to the U.S. and global auto industry," says Charlie Hall, president and CEO of AM General.
AM General's 675,000ft2 Commercial Assembly Plant is a full service manufacturing and support facility that uses robotic welding, painting, and assembly techniques coupled with a lean manufacturing culture.
In addition to the Hummer, the company makes the MV-1 minivan-like vehicle for wheelchair-bound passengers for its subsidiary, Mobility Ventures.
"This is yet another example of AM General's deep and growing commitment to the cities of Mishawaka and South Bend, the State of Indiana and our highly skilled, hardworking employees," Hall adds.
Contract manufacturing is rare, but not unheard of in the auto industry. Automotive supplier Magna has produced the G-Class large SUV for Mercedes and the Mini Countryman vehicle for BMW.
Source: AM General